Comedian Seth Rogen stands for an inoffensive form of boyhood. Yes, one could sum up the entire characters of his career in one word: Klantskallar. If you now have an adventure for Rogen's tablecloth person, you should avoid An American Pickle as Covid-19, because here he appears in two versions. But precisely because of the aforementioned plague, you are not spoiled with a new American film, and the plot sounds at least a peculiar little fun in advance, so… who knows? It might be an enjoyable moment.
It did not happen.
Rogen plays the immigrant Herschel Greenbaum who works at a factory in Brooklyn where they make pickled cucumbers. Life plays out until the day when Herschel happens to fall into one of the giant inlays and is preserved there for 100 years, only to wake up in our time.
The fall into the barrel is high, by the way, splashy, but none of his co-workers, who stand a meter away, notice anything. Which is a bit odd ...
Well, this is a classic fictional premise that the Yankees call fish out of water, ie a story where an outside character with his fresh perspective should make the environment, and the audience, see the present with new eyes. It is often banknote-learning things that have appeared in various different guises, from Hal Ashby's fine Welcome Mr. Chance for bluffing King Ralph, where John Goodman plays a broad-legged Yankee who suddenly becomes king of Britain.
Herschel is similarly an elephant in a china shop. His brutal sincerity makes up for it both for himself and for the only living descendant, the great-grandson Ben Greenbaum (also played by Seth Rogen, who is also a producer).
It is the directorial debut in the feature film format for the photographer Brandon Trost, who among other things filmed blunt Bad Neighbors and not entirely crazy The Interview - and here he begins his new career with a first act that is provocatively sassy; a series of missed lyre balls where the clash between past and present is neglected in tenacious scenes at Åsa-Nisse level.
Since a large part of the film takes place in the hip district of Williamsburg, all hipsters get some lighter ear files, but this wide-open door is not attacked with any further finesse either.
So far it's just a lax comedy, but when the filmmakers also prove deaf enough to brag about sentimental religiosity (the unbelieving Ben finds thanks to Herschel back in the synagogue) they resolutely put the last nail in that pickle barrel's lid - which should never have lifted ...
Premiere on HBO Nordic 14 August